A recent study by the Stockholm environment institute (SEI) in collaboration with friends of the earth demonstrates that Europe is able to comply with its environmental justice responsibility.windmills on water

The study demonstrates that it is possible to reduce green house emission by at least 40% by 2020 and by 90% in 2050  with the use of new technologies and it reveals a roadmap to avoid possible climatic disaster in the future.

The compromise to reduce carbon emission needs to be daring and ambitions than the ones that we are currently planning. The scenario proposes a reduction in growth in terms of GDP and a less materialistic society than the one that it is projected although richer than the actual one.

To realize the program it is necessary to understand the emergency of the crisis and to be aware that without a radical change we will not avoid a climatic disaster.

It is becoming always more apparent that the impact of climate change is leaving clear signs especially in poorer countries which are the ones that are feeling the strain with changes in meteorological conditions.  The climate crisis is a global one and that everyone needs to take its share of responsibility. Even if Europe reduces its Co2 emissions by 90% in 2050 its share of emission will be still about a third worldwide and this will limit poorer countries ability to develop and at the same time need to comply to environmental regulations.  Climatic justice will be reached when richer countries will reduce their share of green house emission and at the same time share their resources to help developing countries mitigate this problem.

The plan excludes some of the energy options that could mitigate Co2 emissions. This includes the withdrawal of nuclear energy which it is considered  unsafe and expensive. Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) which is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide  from large point sources such as fossil fuel power plants is also taken out as its operability on time cannot be guaranteed given the urgency.

CDM clean development mechanism  is also taken out of the equation. CDM is one of the flexibility mechanisms defined in the Kyoto protocol that  provides for emission reduction projects which generate certified emission reduction units which can be traded in emission trading schemes. This scheme is being currently being postponed in EU. It  does not include “external emission” which refers to what is consumed internally in the the EU but produced outside, which underestimates the problem.

The study makes a projection of the future of energy sector  in the Eu and the results that will generate if they persist without any changes. It is possible to mitigate or radically improve energy efficiency  by moving towards renewable energy resources and by progressively abandoning the use of fossil energy.

It shows that a drastic reduction in energy requirement in Europe is possible by investing in improving energy efficiency and measures to change energy source. The main source of renewable energy is wind and solar. Hydroelectric power will remain unchanged.

Transport accounts for around 32% of Co2 Emission in 2010. This has grown faster in recent years. transport activity for commercial purposes will start to decline as economic activity slows down and increase in the usage of ecological transport systems such as bicycle and bus and an increase in the use of trains with respect to air travel.  Traditional cars will be substituted by electric and hybrid cars. This will impact to around 30% compared to traditional cars on emission by 2020.

It is realistic to see a reduction by more than 60% of the use of energy in households by improving efficiency in construction material, domestic appliances and lighting.

Agriculture absorbs around 2.2% of energy in EU. Most of its Co2 emissions derive from fertilizers and livestock farming, therefore the strategy is centered in the fertilization of farmland and a change in diet  which requires a sensible reduction in the intake of meat. A reduction in the consumption of meat will have  a direct consequence on methane  emissions and fewer emission from nitrous oxide .

In order to mitigate carbon emission Europe needs to work in a coordinated manner and  this is achievable by improving social justice and regional contrasts. The scenario sees a reduction in overall GDP and an improvement in the quality of life such as better health, free time and improved social activities.